According to a new report, Apple executives have discussed their plans for an 'autonomous vehicle' with officials at California's department of motor vehicles (DMV). Officially however the report later admits that "the Apple meeting was to review [the] DMV's autonomous vehicle regulations," which is a far cry from the hyperbole of stretching that to meaning Apple discussed autonomous vehicle plans.
The Guardian reported that According to documents that they've obtained, Mike Maletic, a senior legal counsel at Apple, had an hour-long meeting on 17 August with the department's self-driving car experts. The department would not comment on what was actually discussed at the August meeting, beyond saying that "the Apple meeting was to review [the] DMV's autonomous vehicle regulations."
California's DMV is developing regulations for the eventual deployment and public operation of autonomous vehicles. These rules will establish requirements that manufacturers must meet to certify that their driverless vehicles have been successfully tested, meet safety criteria, and are ready for consumers to operate on public roads.
The report specifically notes that "Manufacturers applying for a permit have to detail the make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN) of cars they want to test, share details of autonomous features and capabilities, and identify test drivers by name."
The report further notes that Apple would "also have to explain how these safety drivers will be trained to cope with any malfunctions of the car. Manufacturers need to report every 'disengagement' where the car unexpectedly hands control back to the driver, as well as all accidents it is involved in." If and when Apple makes such a detailed filing that comes to light, there's still no proof of an Apple Branded car.
If Apple is testing system software and components such as a heads-up-display system for a manufacturer, clarifying how this could be accomplished with the DMV would have to be clarified. So the meeting by itself still proves nothing. You could read the full Guardian report here.
Last night I posted a report titled "Daimler CEO Rants that they won't be the Foxconn of Car Makers for Apple." In that report I pointed to Daimler's CEO stating that "We do not plan to become the Foxconn of Apple." I further noted that "The aggressiveness of Zetsche statements could be interpreted that Apple is indeed shopping the idea around to find a car company willing to manufacture an Apple Car just like Foxconn does the iPhone."
One thing is for sure, is that Apple is allowing the buzz about project Titan to mount at a steady pace. Whether or not Apple's secretive car project ever leads to an actual automobile, the technology company has already had a profound effect on the vehicle business, reported the New York Times. The NYTimes added that "The mere knowledge that Apple has a team of several hundred people working on car designs changed the conversation this week at the Frankfurt International Motor Show.
Yes, Apple's art of the crafted rumor is now down to a science. And the steady stream of rumors will abound until they decide to reveal their secret project to the world at the appropriate time and not a second sooner.